Friday, August 23, 2013

Countdown to School: Our choices for art and handicrafts

The bold-print text here is taken from one typical middle-school P.U.S. term--that is, Charlotte Mason's term programmes.  The notes in between are thoughts and plans for this term and maybe the rest of the year.

The Fesole Club Papers, by W. G. Collingwood (see current P.R.). Tree studies. Illustrations of scenes from Literature.  Paintbox with specially chosen paints and brush (P.N.E.U. Office, 5/-).

Generally for pencil drawing I like Adrian Hill's little book How to Draw.  But I know that Charlotte Mason was aiming more for watercolours here.

You can read some of the Fesole Club Papers online, starting with this lesson in how to paint a lemon.  (If you want to follow that exact lesson, you will need tubes of paint in Vandyck (Vandyke) brown, Prussian blue, burnt sienna, lemon yellow, cadmium, gamboge, raw sienna, and some kind of green.)  I think Dollygirl might find Mr. Collingwood's lesson instructive (and fun), since I am no painter myself.  She also owns a "How to Draw and Paint Enchanting Fairies" kit, which is actually much better than it sounds; it's really a short course in watercolour techniques. We found it used and need to replace a couple of the tubes of paint, but otherwise I think it might work well.  There are also some pencil and watercolour practice pages in the Klutz Artrageous Activities book.

Study, describe (and draw from memory details of) six reproductions of pictures by Corot (P.N.E.U. Office, 2/- the set). See the special notes in the Parents' Review, April, 1922. 

I was planning on doing something a little different this term for picture study, looking at a book about faith and art; but it may be better after all just to keep it simple and follow one artist.  We might even do Corot.

Do some definite house or garden work. 

Well, we don't have a "definite" plan for that, but Dollygirl usually helps out where it is needed.  I think she does want to make cinnamon rolls sometime.

Clay modelling, by Hermione Unwin (Longmans, 4/8).  

Heaton's Cardboard Modelling (Newman, 6/-): make six models. (Materials from Arnold & Son, Butterley St., Hunslet Lane, Leeds.) 

Cardboard modelling is defiinitely out, but our library has quite a few books on clay creations and using polymer clay, so that might be something we get into later in the year.  We did find a Tolkien-inspired leaf brooch tutorial online that Dollygirl likes; it's a bit involved, but I like the idea of using leaves as small clay patterns.  There's also a paper-clay leaf project on the Dick Blick website, which is kind of cool.  We also have a nearby gallery that gives group pottery classes, and our homeschool group often sets something up there during the year, so that might be one way to get in some clay time.

I think our special craft skill for the fall will be cross-stitching, since we just acquired a mini-kit to make Christmas ornaments and cards.  Maybe also a little crocheting. Scrapbooking (the budget kind) is another possibility.

Simple Garments for Children, by Synge (Longmans, 6/-). Constructive and Decorative Stitchery, by L. G. Foster (8/6): design and make a garment. 

A Dollygirl-sized garment, or for a small person?  We don't have too many nearby small people in our lives, but we do have dolls, and doll patterns.

Darn and mend garments from the wash each week: First Lessons in Darning and Mending (P.N.E.U. Office, 2d.), may be used. 

I've been thinking about that one, and we do even have a couple of books on the art of mending and fixing up clothes, but honestly, we don't get a lot of rips and holes in the laundry.  I think it's enough to teach a more general art of fixing things where possible, and Mr. Fixit (as you would figure) is pretty good at that.

Teacher will find useful What shall we make? by M. La Trobe Foster (C.M.S., 1/-). See also (unless working as Girl Guides) tests under P.U.S. Scouting (Parents' Review, May, 1920): all girls should take the First Aid (No. 10) and Housecraft (No. 7) Tests. 

Make a garment for the "Save the Children Fund"; for particulars apply to 29 Golden Square, Regent Street, W.1.

More general ideas?  I would really, really like to do something near the beginning of the year to go along with life in Roman Britain...I thought of mosaics, but a lot of them use fairly complicated materials (or are just pasting bits of paper).  Eggshells and Pink Stripey Socks to the rescue: I think this pendant project is very pretty, so we might try that.
And since Charlotte Mason doesn't require any more than that...anything else is just icing on the cinnamon rolls.

Want more CM craft thinking?  Check out Archipelago, the Ambleside Online Advisory blog.

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